-July 1st 2020-
The second half of a year of change-
The start of a blog...
-the uncomfortable conversations-
Throughout the first half of this year the question that I have been asked the most is, how did we get here? This seems like a simple straight forward question, but rarely is the answer the same. Its answer depends on the day and what has been thrown at us over the last 24-48 hours. I believe that there is one answer that can start the conversation.
From childhood we all remember being told that there are two things that you do not discuss in public, and I would say rarely in private as well. These two things, politics and religion. Two topics that can be so polarizing that it can end a friendship faster than a game of monopoly. Why have we been told this, and why do we continue to tell our children and teenagers the same? What is it about these two particular topics that can drive irreconcilable differences between people?
I believe that much of what we are going through as a nation stems from the inability to productively discuss these topics. To have true, honest debate. I love talking politics and religion, for me it allows me to view the core of a person. These two topics are the culmination of an individual. Your life and the life that you have lived play into every facet of your beliefs. What school you went to, whether you had both parents in the home, or raised by a single mother or father. How wealthy the home was, and what profession your parents choose. The neighborhood and friends that you grew up with all play a vital role in what your views are and become. Each of our view points are different, because each and everyone of us has lived a different life. This should be celebrated, but far to often it is demonized and used against us.
This demonization of our differences has led to the inability to view our beliefs from another's point of view. This has created factions of like-minded people that separate themselves from others. Social media has created even further division with echo chambers that continue a feedback loop that capitalizes on your interests and shuts out opposing thought processes.
It is time to teach and to learn how to converse, how to discuss polarizing topics with the understanding that multiple things can be true at once. We have to understand that our perceptions are our realities until we study and learn the truth of a situation. In our 24 hour news cycle, it is not so much as "fake news" as it is "click bait news", a catchy title that drives emotion to drive a narrative. We have to work on, and teach conflict resolution to be able to proceed forward together as people and as a nation. This starts with us individually, recognizing other opinions and not being afraid if they challenge our own, and more importantly is to start teaching our children and teenagers that difference of opinion is a good thing. A different opinion allows us to innovate and challenge the status quo. It allows us freedom of thought for the betterment of all. It is time to step out of the echo chambers and start to truly learn about our neighbors, our families, our friends.
-this is the start of uncomfortable conversations-